A powerful documentary entitled “Scream Bloody Murder” anchored by Christiane Amanpour premiering on CNN today (9 p.m. ET/PT) offers a gripping look at Genocide throughout history and those who witnessed and warned a deaf world about such atrocities, but neglects to mention the Armenian Genocide as the first such event that prompted Raphael Lemkin to coin the phrase.
The documentary begins with the roots of the word Genocide and chronicles the stormy conflicts within Lemkin, who, as Amanpour puts it, was affected by the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenia’s by Ottoman Turks and was prompted to coin the phrase Genocide. In the almost 90-minute press screener, the Armenian Genocide was mentioned for about 45 seconds as an anecdotal reference to Lemkin’s struggle for human justice. Using photographs now familiar to all Armenia’s and possibly obtained from Armin T. Wegner Collection, Amanpour illustrates the horror of the Armenian Genocide but does not delve into it in as in-depth and compelling manner as she does the other instances of Genocide.
Throughout the program, Amanpour “reveals stories of those who tried to stop genocide,” as the CNN press information describes it and discusses the horrific stories of Genocide with “heroes who witnessed evil– and ‘screamed bloody murder’ for the international community to stop it.
Amanpour and CNN should be applauded for the in-depth look at Genocide, from the Holocaust to the killing fields of Cambodia, to Iraq, Rwanda, Bosnia and now Darfur the horror of it all is told with searing images and graphic eyewitness accounts.
To bring attention to Genocide, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of UN Convention of Genocide and Human Rights, authored by Lemkin, is an important accomplishment, one that also asks the hard question of why the world did (does) not interfere when it has a moral obligation.
Amanpour adeptly clarifies the political machinations behind the response–or lack thereof–by the US in all instances featured in the report and wonders, at the end, whether others who “scream bloody murder” will be heard. One wonders, however, if Amanpour heard the screams of Henry Morgenthau, the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time of the Armenian Genocide, who along with Elie Wiesel, Father Francois Ponchaud, Peter Galbraith, Richard Holbrook, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire and others who bore witness to such unspeakable atrocities and whose warnings prompted action but not soon enough to save millions of lives.
Perhaps, the Armenian community can now prompt CNN, as it did eight years ago ABC News and its venerable anchor the late Peter Jennings to take a closer look at the first Genocide of the 20th Century.
Amanpour’s “Scream Bloody Murder” is an important piece of journalism as it asks the very critical questions that could have prevented so many acts of Genocide. In its reporting, Amanpour is also very adept at pointing to US complicity in all these events, much like Samantha Power was in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.”
“Scream Bloody Murder” anchored by CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour airs on CNN Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, with an encore at midnight Eastern and Pacific.
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